Judaism features

The reason why God spokeat the revelation on Sinai

By Lord Jonathan Sacks, May 26, 2016

The pagan cultures of ancient times and today's science-based atheism have one thing in common. They hold that all there is, is bounded by the physical, essentially material world of nature.

The ancients spoke of the gods of the sun, the moon, the sea, the storm, the famine, the flood, the wind and the rain.


Has neuroscience killed off the idea that we have free will?

By Rabbi Samuel Landau, May 20, 2016

A Texas court last week ruled that teenager Ethan Crouch must spend nearly two years in prison for killing four people in a drink-driving crash when he was 16. He had initially received a probationary sentence after his defence argued that he suffered from the psychological malaise, "affluenza".


The modern Orthodox rabbi who keeps the fire of Aish burning

By Simon Rocker, May 12, 2016

Rabbi Daniel Rowe, the new executive director of the Orthodox outreach organisation Aish UK, is widely regarded as one of the smartest young British rabbis around.


The last days of Pesach: keeping faith amid a sea of uncertainty

By Rabbi David Lister, April 27, 2016

To us, the departure from Egypt looks like a victorious conclusion to centuries of slavery and the story of the Ten Plagues. Broken by the death of their firstborn, the Egyptians pressed their wealth on the Jews and begged them to leave. The Jews left in triumph; not even a dog barked at them as they left (Exodus 12).

But God had another trick up His sleeve.


A question for your Seder table: why do we have three matzot?

By Rabbi Chaim Weiner, April 21, 2016

There is an almost universal custom to place three pieces of matzah on the Seder table. In the list of instructions at the beginning of the Haggadah the three matzot are always mentioned. Judaica shops around the world sell plates with three sections for each of the matzot. So it might come as a surprise that it is not at all clear why one should have three pieces of matzah at the Seder.


Why Israel should look east for a model of religious moderation

By Simon Rocker, April 14, 2016

When Eli Bareket was growing up in Israel, he reached the final of a pre-Pesach school quiz. One of the questions, about the Seder song Echad Mi Yadea, asked "who knows two"?

Two are the tablets which Moses brought down from Sinai, of course. But that was not what young Eli wrote. He put down "Moses and Aaron". "Wrong," said the teacher.


We don't need to get in a stew over the ban on beans at Pesach

By Rabbi Dr Jeffrey Cohen, April 7, 2016

Most people are extra-scrupulous when it comes to the kashrut of the Pesach products they buy, and the sight of Ashkenazi shoppers peering at labels to determine whether or not a particular foodstuff contains kitniot, legumes, has become a permanent feature of the run-up to Pesach.

Nevertheless, Ashkenazi frustration seems to grow more and more vocal with each passing year at what many perceive


We need Sacks to lead the battle against synagogue 'apartheid'

By Rabbi Stuart Altshuler, March 31, 2016

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks's Not in God's Name is a masterpiece that should be read by all of us. The book is an essential and brilliant dissertation which combines the best of Jewish ethics, theology and vision in attempting to explain and extirpate the problem of religious and political extremism.


More than one Book of Esther?

By Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris, March 17, 2016

Did the events described in the Book of Esther really happen? In academic circles this question is described as a question of historicity and for more than a century scholars have expended large amounts of energy producing papers and books that say largely the same thing: no historical basis exists for the events in the Book of Esther.


If we can't convert the parents, we can still reach the children

By Jonathan Romain, March 10, 2016

It is one of the great puzzles within the rabbinic world.